The Federal Reserve just cut interest rates for the first time in 11 years. So what does that mean for consumers, especially those who are looking to buy a home? We’re breaking it down.
It’s important to remember that mortgage rates aren’t set by The Fed. And, as Bankrate puts it. “The Fed’s influence over mortgage rates is complicated.”
Mortgage rates are already below 4% as we write this, and they “aren’t likely going to respond quickly to a Fed rate adjustment,” they said. “Any further movement in mortgage rates will be tied to the outlook ahead. That’s because mortgage rates are more more closely follow long-term yield, like the “10-year Treasury yield, which serves as a benchmark to the 30-year fixed mortgage rate.”
If you have a lot of credit card debt, you may see a little relief here thanks to the interest rate cut. “Most credit cards come with a variable rate, which means there’s a direct connection to the Fed’s benchmark rate,” said CNBC. “With a rate cut, the prime rate lowers, too, and credit cards likely will follow suit. For cardholders, that means they could see that reduction in their annual percentage yield, or APR, within a billing cycle or two.”
When you look at the potential savings in one big lump spread among households across the country, the number looks substantial—“Considering that the average household currently owes $8,390, credit card users would save roughly $1.5 billion in interest as a result of a quarter-point rate cut,” said CNBC. “However, that may result in little benefit per cardholder with APR’s still near record highs. For example, a customer with a credit card balance of $1,400 at a 14.4% rate would only see their financing charge decrease by about 30 cents each month.”
You may see the yield on your savings account drop. “Prior to the Fed cutting rates on Wednesday, the average interest rate among online banks was 1.69%, as opposed to an average of 0.28% offered by brick-and-mortar banks,” said CNBC. That’s according to an analysis of savings accounts conducted by DepositAccounts.com in June.”
Interest on online-only savings accounts could drop as much as 0.11%, according to WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. But these still may be your best bet for a high yield. “Savers looking for a higher return might consider online savings accounts, which, in many cases, are still paying yields of 2 to 2.5 percent,” said the New York Times.